The following fictional short story is being widely circulated among Chinese bloggers, translated by CDT:
“Please Pay My Bill”
Today is the weekend and my high school classmates wanted to have a reunion in the upscale Tian’an restaurant.
Since graduating, many of my classmates have become quite established, but I remain obscure, a cartographer in a factory, together with my husband, making a modest salary to support our family. I was reluctant to go, but my classmates were very persuasive, so I finally agreed. My husband was helping our son with his homework. Our son is about to enter middle school and in order to get him into a good school, my husband has been doing everything he can, knocking on so many doors, but with no luck yet. I glanced at our son then walked out the door.
Tian’an Restaurant is very upscale. When I entered the private reserved room, everyone was already there. Before I sat down, one business card after another flew into my hands. Each one of them had titles such as CEO or Chairman; even Ah Hui, the one who always ranked last academically is now director of the local Public Security Bureau. I sighed over my mundane life when I saw the waitress come in with extravagant dishes. The food on the table alone was more than three months of my salary.
Ah Hui acted like the host of the banquet, constantly pouring drinks or serving food, repeatedly saying, “Just go ahead and eat, it’s all on me.” No one seemed to mind and just kept on drinking one round after another, chatting about anything and everything.
Everyone had lots of fine liquor and food, and it was getting quite late. The gathering was about to end. Who will pay the bill, I wondered, since no one seemed to reach for their wallets. At this moment, Ah Hui pulled out his cell phone, dialed some number, and said into the phone: “Xiao Li, has the bureau’s anti-prostitution unit caught anybody tonight? … Just got some….. Good! Good! Just send one of them to Tian’an Resteraunt to pay the bill for me.” After that, he put the cell phone back in his pocket with a showy smile, and the other classmates laughed along with him.
Less then fifteen minutes later, a middle-aged man came in. He read the bill, and his face got slightly long. It seemed that he did not have enough cash with him. So he also took out his cell phone, dialed a number, and said: “Mr. Liao? This is Principal Ma! … About your son who wanted to get into our school, I can give you a positive answer today… but tonight I am inviting some friends for dinner, would you please come to pay the bill?… It is room 203 of Tian’an Restaruant.” Twenty minutes later, someone knocked on the door of the private room. I opened the door.
When I saw my husband, standing in front of the door with his thick glasses, I fainted…..